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Rafael D. Palacios (1905-1993) was a prolific and highly successful free-lance artist and illustrator specializing in book jackets and maps for major U.S. publishers in the mid- and late 20th century. Among his notable maps are those in most of Isaac Asimov's history books and in Bruce Catton's Civil War books.

Biography

Of Spanish-Puerto Rican parentage, Palacios was born in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. When he was five months old his family moved to Puerto Rico. He was educated in the Puerto Rican schools, but as an artist was largely self-taught. In 1928 he did his first fine arts sketches while in San Juan. He made something of a specialty of Afro-Caribbean portraiture. He made a brief visit to the United States in 1931. In 1937 he was chosen, with two others, to represent Puerto Rico at the second annual Exhibition of American Art in New York City. In 1938 he also exhibited at the Delphic Studios in New York, where he presented his first display of Afro-Antillean art (a one-man show of his gouaches). That same year he also exhibited at the first Newspaper Artists' Exhibition in New York, and in several one-man shows at the Athenaeum in San Juan and at the University of Puerto Rico.

Beginning in 1938 Palacios worked for American newspapers as an illustrator and translator of comic strips. In the mid-1940s, he shared a studio with several other freelance artists and did a number of covers and endpapers for Bantam Books. His endpapers had a strong cartographic quality and served a similar purpose with Dell Books' mapbacks.

In 1948, Palacios was chosen to produce the maps for Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's memoir, Crusade in Europe.

Works illustrated

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